Diving in Saltstraumen

Saltstraumen has a unique fauna and fish life - a heaven for underwater photographers with both macro and wide-angle possibilities

2017-10-1610:41 Laila Lovise Johansen

As the tidal water passes the narrow and shallow straight every sixth hour it pushes rich nutrients up from the deep sea floor. This gives Saltstraumen a unique underwater biotope and you can expect a huge diversity and quantity of marine life.

Saltstraumen - the world’s strongest tidal current

Saltstraumen has the world’s strongest tidal current and it can reach up to 26 knots. This creates the famous Maelstrom and it’s whirlpools. The combination of speed and the unique marine life creates an amazing dive environment. But the strong currents and the great depths make this a demanding dive environment. We have dive sites that any person can dive, but to appreciate the more amazing dives you need to have some experience as a diver, good buoyancy control and be comfortable in a dry suit.

The visibility is usually very good, especially in the beginning and the end of the season. In February/March and september/october we can have up to 60 meters. The visibility varies in the summer season, but is still usually good, and the kelp forrest`s and anemones are in full bloom.

Saltstraumen topped ranked in the World

Saltstraumen has been ranked one of National Geographic’s top ten dive areas in the world. It has also been chosen among many others as one of the Wild Wonders of Europe.

Saltstraumen - A Wild Wonder of Europe 

The Matadornetwork.com choose to rank us on their "8 adventure you didn't know were possible in Norway" list. 

8 adventure you didn't know were possible in Norway

Tunnelen – dive through the Ice Age’s geology

During the Ice Age there was enormous forces in place. Here in Saltstraumen you can see evidence of this on almost every dive site, but maybe this one is the most memorable. Here rocks got stuck and from the forces of water started spinning and drilled a hole through a ledge, and you can dive through this history. The pothole, as it is called starts at 31 meter and going straight up ending at 25 meter. The tunnel is covered with anemones.

On an outgoing current you will have a big chance to come face to face with some huge wolf fishes, lying on the bottom. The walls are covered with Dead Man’s Fingers and above, you have an amazing kelp forests. Watch out for the current when you get to the white sand dune, here the current can push you up or just whirl you round a little if you are not prepared. If you are lucky you can get some really good speed on this dive.

Ørneset – perfect wide-angle photography dive

Here you will find steep walls covered with white anemones to wide ledges covered with green and red colours where the wolf fish rest. Another part has large potholes covered with Dead Man’s Fingers and anemones. Among these potholes and the boulders around them you can also find wolf fishes.

This can be everything from a calm slow drift dive to more speed and whirlpool feeling. As a diver you need to have good buoyancy control especially along the steep walls where it can be depths down to 80 meters.

Sundstraumen - a drift dive through a beautiful canyon and white walls

Sundstraumen is only accessible by boat and we can both use out- and ingoing current. When the current goes in we start in an incredible garden of anemones and kelp. Towards the canyon we drift along white walls covered with anemones and we continue drifting through the canyon, passing a large pothole and ending in a backwater bay.

Saltstraumen is one of our favourite

In the bay there is less current and we can swim back into the canyon and drift around to the pothole again. This is one of our favourite and also one of the most beautiful dive sites in Saltstraumen.

Tuvsjyen – a photographer’s heaven with both macro and big fishes

This dive site is localized on the inside of Saltstraumen, and is often used as a check out dive. But many photographers dive here again and again. The dive site has big ledges and small walls were you could look for anemones and nudi branchs. Over the sand you can also find wolf fish, halibut and different kind of flounders. The dive starts at Tuvsjyen Stone Age camp, and follows the direction of the current. 

Tuvsjyen offers local Stone Age dining and culture experiences

Oksebåsen – crevice worth visiting

Oksebåsen, (the bull’s stall) has one very special and memorable feature and that is the crevice that goes from the surface all the way down to the bottom, 60 meters down. The walls and the crevice are covered with colourful life all the way down. At 27 meter there is a boulder stuck in the crevice worth having a look at. Try to see the Neanderthal face in it.

Besides the huge shoals of fishes above you, you will also find almost every little small creature living in Saltstraumen at this dive site. But be aware of the current especially if you start moving away from the crevice. A word of advice, you do not want to be here when the current is going in.

Rundholmen – colourful gem from top to bottom

Rundholmen is one of our favourite dive sites that we dive in many different ways. What makes it the “gem” is the variation from walls covered with Dead Man’s Fingers to anemones in all the colours of the rainbow. We also have a lot of kelp where the wolf fish hides and down on the ledges we can see halibuts and different flounders.

Above us we have shoals of cods and coalfish. The dive site has everything from steep walls to wide ledges. It can be an easy dive but you will have great depths along the walls so good buoyancy control is required.

Brukaret – “speed drift diving”

Brukaret is one of our fastest dive sites and here you can experience the true feeling of the Worlds strongest tidal current. The dive starts on the inside of the bridge and goes along the whole north side out past the little island called Kobbskjæret. We drift along a wall, passing kelp and boulders while we fly over the bottom. The dive ends sometime with a safety stop where you hold on to the kelp. The dive is demanding and is reserved for experienced divers.

Map of dive spots
Vebjørn Karlsen
The Tunnelen
The Tunnelen from below
Vebjørn Karlsen
Wolf-Eel and shrimp
Vebjørn Karlsen
Vebjørn Karlsen
Tuvsjyen - halibut
Vebjørn Karlsen
Vebjørn Karlsen
Vebjørn Karlsen
Vebjørn Karlsen
Vebjørn Karlsen
Rock Gunnel
Vebjørn Karlsen
Flabellina verrucosa
Vebjørn Karlsen
Palio dubia
Vebjørn Karlsen
Ansates pellucida
Vebjørn Karlsen
Angelfish - lophius piscatorius
Vebjørn Karlsen
Longspinned bullhead - taurulus bubalis
Vebjørn Karlsen
Halibut - hippoglossus hippoglossus
Vebjørn Karlsen
Flabellina Verrucosa

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